The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation told a national audience Sunday that terrorists who fought with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), are “entitled to come back” to the United States as long as they have a valid passport.
On CBS’s 60 Minutes Sunday, FBI Director James Comey told Scott Pelley he expects American terrorists fighting with ISIS, of which he estimates there are about a dozen, to return to the United States:
“Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back. So, someone who’s fought with ISIL, with an American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.”
Here’s the transcript of the relevant part of the interview:
Pelly: How many Americans are fighting in Syria on the side of the terrorists?
Comey: In the area of a dozen or so.
Pelly: Do you know who they are?
Pelley: Each and every one of them?
Comey: I think of that, dozen or so, I do. I hesitate only because I don’t know what I don’t know.
Pelley: With American passports, how do you keep them from coming home and attacking the homeland?
Comey: Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back. So, someone who’s fought with ISIL, with American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.
At a briefing last month, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki affirmed that the State Department “has long had the authority to revoke passports.” When asked if such maneuvers were being taken for those who were fighting on behalf of ISIS, Psaki said,
“Well, we’ve long had those capabilities and we’ve long been able to implement them, so it’s not a new effort by the United States. But I’m not going to be able to confirm numbers or any specifics.”
When pressed further, she demurred, “Those just are not details that I can confirm from here.”
CNN reported Monday that a 19-year-old man was arrested over the weekend attempting to board a plane to Istanbul. Mohammed Hamzah Khan was arrested with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
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According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, federal authorities apprehended him at Chicago O’Hare Airport and then executed a search warrant on his home, where documents expressing support for ISIS were found.
H/T CNS News
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